Violent Oromia Groups Threatening More Attacks: Victims

By Staff Reporter

East-Hararghe-EthiopiaJuly 26, 2020 ( -- The recent ethnic and religious-based attacks in Oromia towns of Ethiopia left residents fearful and threatened, questioning when the attacks will end.

The victims and survivors, mainly non-Oromo ethnic people, are not the only individuals affected, but so are other people who are exposed to the violent attacks in other towns and cities, including the capital Addis Ababa.

The fear among ethnic Amhara people in east Hararghe of Ethiopia is serious because the attackers commonly known as “Qeerroo” torched three other houses after police declared the violence had been put under control.

The attackers, who are believed to have had the support of some members of the Oromia security forces, burned 57 houses along with other properties belonging to ethnic Amhara people in Haromaya Bati town. The conduct of the Oromia security forces is especially worrying to many of these victims.

The law enforcement people in Oromia state have long been accused of collusion with lawless people, in particular the Qeerroo, to attack innocent people in the state. This is new in Ethiopian history and setting a very dangerous precedent according to many observers.

Police said at least 200 people were killed and thousands of houses burned during the three-day violence that occurred following the death of popular Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa.

“You don’t know when the next attack will come. There is information that the Qeerroos are conspiring to go for another attack and burn the remaining houses. Police arrested a few of the attackers,” the victims told on condition of anonymity.

The victims said they fear those attackers and even neighbors who are still at large. The east Hararghe defense division is supposed to remain around and protect them.

One of the victims, whose houses and a shop were burned, said she is threatened for similar attacks unless she leaves the area permanently. “We live in the open air and there is no place where we can cook food, '' she added.

One of the victims in Kombolcha district in east Hararghe zone said the attackers have threatened our lives if we don’t leave the area. He said his house and hotel were burned by the violent Oromo youth group.

“The most hurtful thing is that my hotel had lots of bedrooms before it was burned down but they estimated it at 34,000 Birr (about $1000) by those local officials who are commissioned to value the cost of property damage,” he said. “It is another unbearable psychological attack,” he added.

Public Relations Head of east Hararghe zone, Ayalew Takele, said the security threat is now resolved following joint efforts of zonal and district security forces.

He said members of the security forces are also detained for alleged failure to maintain law and order. However, victims of the recent attacks have accused some members of Oromia security forces of supporting the violent force.

Meanwhile, the Tigray regional government has made wearing face masks in any places of Mekelle city compulsory to stem the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government, however, made wearing any coverings outside homes mandatory two months ago to prevent the spread of deadly disease.

The Tigray region reported over 500 cases of COVID-19. It is the fourth worst-hit region next from Addis Ababa, Somalia, and Oromia.

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